The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Lam Chiu-ying, today (March 18) reviewed the Observatory's services last year and talked about work in 2009. He also briefed reporters on the new typhoon categorisation to take effect this year and the projection of rainfall in Hong Kong in the 21st century.
Reviewing 2008, Mr Lam said the work for the Beijing Olympics was his most pleasant memory. "The Observatory's nowcasting system had an outstanding performance in Beijing during the period, and in fact outperformed other systems from advanced countries in several aspects," Mr Lam said, adding that the system had been put into the public weather service in Hong Kong.
Talking about the work in 2009, Mr Lam said, "We have reviewed our operations during the typhoon season last year, and concluded that we should improve the delivery of storm surge information. Starting this year, we will send Short Message Service (SMS) to representatives of Tai O residents and colleagues of relevant departments to warn of imminent storm surges if the situation warrants."
Mr Lam also said to heighten people's alertness of stronger typhoons, starting this year the Observatory would further categorise 'Typhoon' into 'Typhoon', 'Severe Typhoon' and 'Super Typhoon'. (See Appendix 1 for more details on the classification of tropical cyclones at http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/news/2009/20090318_appendix1e.pdf .)
Mr Lam predicted that the number of tropical cyclones affecting Hong Kong this year would be near normal, that is, five to six, while the annual rainfall would be below normal.
Regarding climate change, the Observatory re-assessed the trend of rainfall in Hong Kong in the 21st century based on the latest data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report published in 2007.
"We forecast that the rainfall in Hong Kong will rise in the latter half of this century. The number of extremely wet years and extremely dry years will also increase," Mr Lam said. (See Appendix for a summary of the updated rainfall projections at http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/news/2009/20090318_appendix2e.pdf .)
Mr Lam announced that a German version would be added to the World Weather Information Service (WWIS) website on World Meteorological Day on March 23. The website is developed and operated by the Hong Kong Observatory under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organisation.
Mr Lam said, "The website won the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Award last year. It is currently presented in six languages - Chinese, English, Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish."
"The addition of the German version reflects that the work of the Hong Kong Observatory is highly recognised by the world meteorological community."
To celebrate the World Meteorological Day, the Hong Kong Observatory will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday (March 21 and 22).
Please visit the following web page for the full text of Mr Lam's speech at the meet-the-media session:
The Director of Hong Kong Observatory Mr Lam Chiu-ying briefed reporters on the new typhoon categorisation this year and the projection of rainfall in Hong Kong in the 21st century
Past and projected change in annual rainfall for Hong Kong
Number of extremely dry years and extremely wet years in Hong Kong